Contact Dermatitis: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 6/9/2017

The main symptom of contact dermatitis is a skin rash. The rash may ooze or weep fluid and is typically located at the site of contact with the irritating substance that led to the contact dermatitis. The rash is often red in color and raised above the level of the skin. The rash is usually accompanied by itching or burning, and the affected area may feel warm to the touch. Older lesions may scale over, thicken, and often remain itchy.

Causes of contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a skin reaction that occurs at the site of exposure to a substance capable of producing an allergic reaction in the individual. It is caused by exposure to and contact with an irritating substance to which the patient has developed a skin allergy.


Aneja, Savina. "Irritant Contact Dermatitis." Apr. 13, 2017. <>.

Helm, Thomas N. "Allergic Contact Dermatitis." Apr. 10, 2017. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/9/2017

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